Investigating the flexibility of a novel multi-zone air heating and ventilation system using model predictive control

Mahmood Khatibi*, Samira Rahnama, Pierre Vogler-Finck, Jan Dimon Bendtsen, Alireza Afshari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


In forced air heating systems, there are basically two approaches to set the temperature of each zone within a multi-zone building: regulating the supply airflow rate and regulating the supply air temperature (or a combination of these two parameters). Conventional variable air volume (VAV) systems usually maintain the supply air temperature constant within all rooms and regulate only the supply airflow rate to the room. Recently, a novel multi-zone air heating and ventilation (MZHV) system has been developed, which is capable of regulating both the supply airflow rate and the supply air temperature to the rooms independently of each other. This paper investigates the flexibility of the novel MZHV system and compares it with the conventional VAV systems. The MZHV system as well as a multi-zone case study building are modeled in a high-fidelity simulation environment (IDA ICE). Instead of traditional rule-based control schemes, a model predictive control (MPC) scheme is developed to control real-time power consumption of the multi-zone building. For this purpose, a second-order state space model is identified for each zone and calibrated against the results from the high fidelity simulations. MPC is implemented in MATLAB environment by using the second-order state space models. Two co-simulations are performed to compare the flexibility of the novel MZHV system with a conventional VAV system. The results show that the MZHV system provides a significant flexibility in terms of the energy usage, without affecting the comfort levels. This flexibility can for example be exploited to reduce the overall energy usage or provide ancillary services for a smart electricity grid.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104100
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was sponsored in part by EUDP project “Ancillary services in Smart Grid using multi-zone demand-controlled residential ventilation systems (SmartVENT)” (Journal No. 64018-0501 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Air heating systems
  • Flexibility
  • Model predictive control
  • Multi zone buildings


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